Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Bazaar

Tuesday night, we took a friend from out-of-town to The Bazaar in the SLS Hotel for dinner.  I think the Bazaar is the perfect place to take out-of-towners who enjoy food; Jose Andres' spanish tapas combined with molecular gastronomy can't be found anywhere else in the U.S., with the exception of maybe his D.C. area bar within a restaurant, minibar.  The decor and layout of the Bazaar, with the bar area, two dining rooms and patisserie, is whimsical and fun, and it's a great place for people-watching as it draws a very typical LA / Hollywood crowd.  I had been once before, almost two years ago, close to when the restaurant first opened.  It is still one of the most popular reservations in town, so reservations should definitely be made in advance.

We started with drinks in Bar Centro and ordered cocktails off their "New Classics" list:
"New Way" Dirty Martini with olive spherification (at the bottom) and olive brine air
"Salt air" margarita
"Magic" mojito strained over cotton candy
Next, we moved into the Rojo room, where I had dined previously, for dinner.  The menu is divided into "Traditional" and "Modern Tapas."  The Rojo room is probably the warmest and most traditional of the rooms, bathed in red lighting with black accents and with lots of chalkboard walls and a charcuterie counter.
Tortilla de patatas "New Way" with potato foam, 63 degree egg, and chives (Modern)
Papas Canarias: salty wrinkled potatoes with a mojo verde (Traditional)
Chipirones en su tinta: baby squid with its own ink (Traditional)
Melon with Jamon Iberico (Modern)
King Crab Steamed Buns with pickled cucumber (Modern)
Watermelon "nigiri" with yellowtail, fresh wasabi, red wine, soy, jalapeño (Modern)
Japanese taco with grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron (Modern)
Sautéed shrimp, garlic, guindilla pepper (Traditional)
Lamb loin (Traditional)
Butifarra Senator Moynihan: Catalan pork sausage, white beans, mushrooms (Traditional)
Philly cheesteak: air bread, cheddar, Wagyu beef (Modern)
Burrata with Japanese peach and croutons (Modern)
Cotton candy foie gras (Modern)
Making something with liquid nitrogen
2007 L'argata: Shiraz, Garnacha, Cabernet (a little too dry and tannic for my tastes)
We enjoyed trying many different things; it was definitely a new experience for most of the people we were with.  I like the modern side of the menu more as it is more unique.  However, the meal didn't seem as innovative as when I first visited Bazaar almost two years ago.  I think it's partially because we've had similar modern cooking a few times over the last year, with three trips to Ludobites and our recent trip to Red Medicine at Test Kitchen.  The ambiance is cool, but the service is pretty bad; we had to wait forever to finally get someone's attention to get more water and we poured all the wine ourselves.  There didn't seem to be anyone taking care of our table.  After dinner, we moved to the patisserie for dessert.
I love that melting chandelier
Chocolate mousse with pear sorbet
Rice crispy treats
The Patisserie is my favorite room; it's the most fun, cheerful and pretty room, with tables and chairs of all different heights and styles.  I love the display of all the candies and chocolates in the front; everything is so pretty!  The chocolate mousse dessert was nothing special however, just a watery chocolate mousse, tasted just like how it looks.  Overall, we had a good time and tasted some fun and innovative food.  I do like how they are able to transfer your bill from the bar, to the restaurant, to the patisserie for one seamless meal in three totally different ambiances.  It makes for a little dining adventure, keeping it always interesing!

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 246-5545end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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